Photo by Fotolia
More and more people worldwide are awakening to the benefits of organic products, food and drinks included. Various studies into the impact of clean eating confirm the gains organic labels entail for the environment and human health, and eco-friendly recipes are multiplying at the speed of light. But what about environmentally conscious alcohol? Beer, wine, and liquor production and distribution have a negative effect on the environment, and air, water, and soil pollution is already turning the climate against mankind. Still, there’s hope: it seems that major players in the alcohol industry have finally realized that a neglectful attitude to natural resources can only end in loss of profits. This realization triggered the advent of organic alcoholic beverages sourced, manufactured, packaged, and distributed with sustainability in mind. But how can you tell environmentally responsible drinks from their non-eco counterparts? Here are a few tips on how to drown your sorrows without damaging Mother Earth.
Always double-check the labels
When picking your poison, don’t just grab a suave bottle or nice-looking can and call it a day. If you want to drink responsibly in terms of the environment, always check the list of ingredients. Unfortunately, many brands in the alcohol industry don’t disclose ingredients used in production of their liqueur over formula theft concerns. On the plus side, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau stepped up alcohol content control efforts back in 2007, when it called on manufacturers to include nutritional labels on the packaging – and many companies found it better to adhere to the proposed measure than risk potential penalty points.
If you’re not seeing the information you’re looking for on the bottle or can, try to find a detailed list of ingredients and production procedures online. Or, make life easier on yourself and simply stick to the brands that take environmental responsibility seriously and can back it up with transparent labels.
Look for pesticide- and flavorant-free drinks
There’s no shortage of green alcoholic drinks out there: Crop Vodka, Tequila Alquimia, Square One Vodka, Prairie Vodka and Gin, Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Naked Merlot, Juniper Green Organic Gin and vegan-friendly Asahi beer are only a few among the heady beverages made from 100% organic ingredients, grown without use of pesticides and produced without artificial colorants, flavors, preservatives, and other hazardous chemicals.
If you want to stay on the eco-conscious side when throwing back a stiff drink, go online and do your research before shopping for alcohol – or, if possible, ask the producer about details pertaining to the growing, harvesting, brewing, and packaging of their spirits.
Shop local for environmental bonus points
When buying liquor, wine, or beer, opt for local over international brands. Shipping of alcoholic beverages entails a high carbon footprint, so the shorter the distance the bottle or can travelled, the lower its environmental impact will be. For this reason, buying wine straight from a local vineyard or opting for beer crafted in your hometown over an imported can is a safe bet that goes a long way in terms of environmentally responsible bottle-tipping – and for a sweet bonus, you’ll also be doing your community a favor.
Sustainable beverage packaging for eco-safe guzzles
Packaging selection is another aspect where you can curb your environmental impact by simply choosing the eco-safe bottle or can. For instance, glass and aluminum containers are recyclable. Most beer cans, however, feature BPA lining which can be potentially hazardous for both human health and the environment. To reduce your carbon footprint, ditch plastic and mixed-material bottles, and stick to tetra pak or boxed wines.
Also, make sure you drink your favorite stiff drink from a reusable growler, glass, or tumbler and not a plastic cup, and check the cap to make sure your inebriating beverage is eco-safe through and through. Another convenient way to clean up your drinking habit is to skip the straw when ordering a cocktail at the bar: even tiny pieces of plastic can wind up in the sea and claim the life of an underwater critter, to say nothing of soil and water pollution.
Back eco-friendly companies and producers who care about the environment
Many brands in the alcohol industry support sustainable practices both inside and outside their core business. This is why knowing your favorite brands’ policy and initiatives they endorse, advocate, or fund is extremely important for long-term and large-scale environmental impact of your liqueur tasting sprees. Distilleries and breweries that employ sustainable alcohol production procedures or participate in eco-friendly campaigns deserve your trust and loyalty more than those whose policy revolves around profits alone – so pick both your poison and its mastermind wisely, and with Mother Nature’s benefit in mind.
There’s more to drinking responsibly than just not drinking and driving. Fortunately for Mother Earth, there’s an entire microcosm of organic drinks emerging on the alcoholic horizon, and the brands that make the effort are by all means worth a shot (pun intended). Cheers!